Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Influencing Change Through Humility

This one's for the parents who care about being a consistent and loving example so their children can learn to make sound, rational decisions, be positively productive, and live satisfying, happy lives. In other words, parents who want to lead values-driven families (not a parent? Read it may be able to apply this concepts to your situation).

Let’s say you have a teenager who’s been partying too much at college. They just showed you their grades from the Fall semester when they came home for the holidays…and, they’re failing…everything!

Your natural reaction, “You need to do better! You should go to class every day! You could stop partying so much and focus on your education!” 

You’re right. They do. They should. They could.

And, they agree with you, in principle, but your answers won’t help them change their behavior. They’ll only make things worse. Everyone will become even more frustrated.

Why Won’t Your Answers Help?

Think about it for a moment. Did anything you say really tell them something they didn't already know? Do you really believe a young adult who is going to college doesn't know that they could get their grades up if they focused on their education instead of partying? Are you some kind of genius? Are they some special kind of idiot who became the first Freshman to party too much at school?

Are you trying to fill the role of the expert in a situation where you can’t be a part of the solution because you aren't a part of the problem?

In my experience, there is only one thing that will get someone to find the solution they really need. They know they have a problem but they don’t want to think about it…so they don’t find a solution.

Who really needs to have the expert power in this conversation? You, or your kid?

Will your answers help them think about the problem and how to solve it?

Is being the expert really what you want? Or, do you want to respond with humility so they can find the solution that is meaningful to them?

What Can You Do to Make Them Think About Their Problem?

What questions can you ask to create an atmosphere of acceptance rather than where they can only focus on self-defense? Is this really a time you want them to dig in? Would you rather see them be the expert in their own situation and attack the problem?

What questions can you ask that will allow your college student to illicit and explore their own reasons for change?

What questions can you ask that will provide them with a safe environment to evaluate so they can decide what values they really want to personify?

What questions can you ask that will help them define the boundaries and the goals they want to set for themselves?

(See what I did there? I didn't give you one "how-to" throughout this entire article, did I? Only questions. You’re the expert in this conversation, my friend, not me!)

Are You A Parent Who Cares?

The past few months, we've been feverishly working on a new program designed to ask parents who want to lead values-driven families the questions that will help them build their own solutions around a simple cultural framework:

Think- Know what you want and the person you want to be (identify and define your core values).

Act- Do things that will reflect the person you want to be as you try to get what you want (Targeted Effort + Values personification = Progress Toward Values-Driven Success ).

Be- Be satisfied with your own efforts at getting what you want while you continuously adapt to an ever changing world.
We ask parent-leaders how they want to apply the principles of kinship, trust, and love and to create an engaged, satisfied, and focused family culture.

If It All Starts With Thinking Then Doesn't the Best Thinking Start With the Best Questions?

Humble parents ask questions about problems so the real experts can find solutions.

It’s a journey…always a journey. If you're not good at putting your expert hat aside then think about it in terms of "Not Yet." Practice. Try new approaches. Get help if you need it.

Our new program is called Finding Family Success and it's based on GPS Theory, the main subject of my new book, Finding Success: Get What You Really Want in which I share some inspiring stories including one about my own experiences as a struggling parent. 

GPS Theory asks a very powerful question: What do you want, success or values-driven success?

Before you answer...consider these points:
  • Success is getting what you want. 
  • Values-driven success is getting what you want and being the person you want to be. Did you notice the a catch? Can you really get what you want without first being the person you want to be? 

You be the expert! 

We'd love to hear your thoughts. What questions would you ask your college kid to help influence them to think about the solution to their problem? Which is more important: Success or Values-Driven Success?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Eakin is the author of Finding Success and the Success Engineer at BoomLife, and helps people achieve values-driven success. Through his writings, workshops and inspirational speaking, Tom helps people find and expand the sweet spot between what they value, what they’re good at, and what their situation requires so they can exceed even their own expectations. Tom is a former U.S. Army Ranger-qualified Combat Engineer officer with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Master’s Certificate in Executive Coaching from Bellevue University and has created stellar performance in teams in a wide range of environments. Originally from the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, Tom lives in Jefferson, South Dakota, near his three children with his wife, Julie. He is an active and passionate advocate for parents, veterans and entrepreneurs in his community and region.

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